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Experimental Drug Compound Found To Reverse Effects of Alzheimer's In Mice

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the pernicious-disease-needs-spanking dept.

Medicine 105

Zothecula (1870348) writes "While there has been progress made in the fight against Alzheimer's, our understanding of the dispiriting disease remains somewhat limited, with a definitive cure yet to be found. The latest development comes at the hands of researchers from Yale's School of Medicine, who have discovered a new drug compound shown to reverse the effects of Alzheimer's in mice."

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Mice don't get 'Alzheimer's disease'... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47638875)

... so yet another fraud from the animal torturers...
What a joke it is - endless fraud from psychopaths who enjoy torturing animals all day.

Do mice get Alzheimer's disease in the wild? This is blatantly fraudulent 'research'.

Re:Mice don't get 'Alzheimer's disease'... (4, Insightful)

Gaygirlie (1657131) | about 2 months ago | (#47638901)

Do mice get Alzheimer's disease in the wild? This is blatantly fraudulent 'research'.

Cars don't appear in the wild either, yet research has enabled them anyways. That is to say, I do not think you even understand what the word "fraudulent" means.

Re:Mice don't get 'Alzheimer's disease'... (0)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 1 month ago | (#47641823)

When think back of all the killings I've done to mice; the last thing I want mice to do is, remember?

Re:Mice don't get 'Alzheimer's disease'... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47638933)

Weak troll.

Re:Mice don't get 'Alzheimer's disease'... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47639345)

the good ones moved all to Ukraine-Russia discussions and/or Arab-Israel conflict. This one is learning yet I guess.

Re:Mice don't get 'Alzheimer's disease'... (4, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 months ago | (#47639081)

No, mice don't get alzheimer's disease in the wild. They don't live long enough to. A domesticated mouse can sometimes develop dementia entirely on its own as it ages, however. Any mouse, or any creature for that matter, which happened to live long enough in the wild to develop such conditions would not survive for long without human intervention.

Re:Mice don't get 'Alzheimer's disease'... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47639145)

Yet they do live long enough to get cancer, which primarily occurs in the elderly. I don't think think that your simple model of disease incidence increasing with days alive should be assumed.

Re:Mice don't get 'Alzheimer's disease'... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 months ago | (#47639241)

Cancer doesn't impose the same kind of survivability impact that dementia does. An animal in the wild with cancer may not live much longer, but can continue to fend for itself for relatively quite a long time often almost right up until the time the disease kills them. An animal with dementia cannot even fend for itself in the wild and would die *VERY* quickly, even though the disease may not otherwise be damaging to their physical health.

Re:Mice don't get 'Alzheimer's disease'... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47639251)

As long as it occurs after they have been able to reproduce at least once, the age won't be a big driving factor in terms of natural selection.

Re:Mice don't get 'Alzheimer's disease'... (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 2 months ago | (#47639269)

" An animal with dementia cannot even fend for itself in the wild"

Citation needed. I've seen plenty of animals with Rabies and other essential forms of dementia survive for quite a while, long enough to have been a potential vector to several thousand people.

Re:Mice don't get 'Alzheimer's disease'... (5, Informative)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 months ago | (#47639605)

How about this [alzheimers.net] ?

Domestic dogs and cats often live long enough to develop cognitive dysfunction. Although little data has been collected on older animals in the wild, if they were to develop dementia-like symptoms, they wouldnâ(TM)t survive very long after.

Simply put, such dementia would leave the animal without essential survival skills, and unless they are being cared for by people, they would die. Rabies causes irrational behavior, but does not deprive the animal of the ability of the cognitive skills necessary for survival. Certain other forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer's, which is also what this slashdot story is about, does.

Re:Mice don't get 'Alzheimer's disease'... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47639637)

Mark-t,

This goes against your earlier claim that mice "don't live long" enough is the reason we do not see it. Cats/Dogs also do not live long enough to get Alzheimer's when measured in people years. So what percent of normal mice show Alzheimer's systems if kept alive long enough according to the tests used in this study?

Re:Mice don't get 'Alzheimer's disease'... (1)

mark-t (151149) | about 2 months ago | (#47639919)

Only ones that are kept in captivity and cared for. In the wild, they die.

Re:Mice don't get 'Alzheimer's disease'... (1)

Nidi62 (1525137) | about 2 months ago | (#47639777)

" An animal with dementia cannot even fend for itself in the wild"

Citation needed. I've seen plenty of animals with Rabies and other essential forms of dementia survive for quite a while, long enough to have been a potential vector to several thousand people.

My last dog lived to be 16 years old, which is pretty old for a medium-sized dog. We ended up putting her down because, one night something happened and she just would not stop barking. She didn't eat, didn't sleep, didn't move, just laid there constantly yelping (and not out of pain either) for three days. When we took her into the vet to put her down, even the vets could tell she wasn't herself (she would get grouchy and mean around other people-even had a bite warning sticker on her vet folder). If that's not evidence that an animal with dementia/cognitive impairment wouldn't live long in the wild I don't know what is.

Re:Mice don't get 'Alzheimer's disease'... (1)

Wild_dog! (98536) | about 2 months ago | (#47639829)

Not to burst anyones bubble, but any created that doesn't eat or move will not have a very long existence.
Any creature with full Alzheimer's would not survive long either.
But as in Humans, I would imagine Alzheimer's takes a while to fully render the creature demented.

Re:Mice don't get 'Alzheimer's disease'... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47640565)

Not really, my mom's alzheimers cam on in just a matter of months, she's still functional, but unable to care for herself.

In mouse time it'd be much faster.

Re:Mice don't get 'Alzheimer's disease'... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47640539)

If an animal forgets that something is a threat or where sources of water, food and shelter are due to dimentia even when that animal is still otherwise strong and healthy that anmal will not last very long before it's predated uon or dies of dehydration, exposure or starvation.

My mom has early onset alheimers and she's only in her 60's, becasue of this she often forgets to eat, we had to take her car from her as she couldn't remember where she was going when got pulled over for driving on the wrong side of the road, she has also walked away from the house and been found wandering aimlessly by a friend who brought her home.

We now have her living with her sister as she's got the time, room, a fence with a lock and theres always someone home there to keep an eye on her.

I've already let my friends know that if this should happen to me that they should arrange a boating or hunting accident as it's among the worst possible ways to go after seeing my grandmother suffer from it for 8 years before she died.

Re:Mice don't get 'Alzheimer's disease'... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47640543)

Well Rabies has a pretty essential deterrant in both their aggressive demeanor and being a disease to avoid which is an evolutionary advantage to any animal that runs the fuck away from another rabid one.

Re:Mice don't get 'Alzheimer's disease'... (1)

Czech Blue Bear (1897556) | about 1 month ago | (#47643491)

Yet they do live long enough to get cancer, which primarily occurs in the elderly. I don't think think that your simple model of disease incidence increasing with days alive should be assumed.

This is a common mistake. Some types of cancer are primarily affecting the elderly, but some others peak at childhood, or at early adulthood, and yet others can affect a person regardless of age (glioblastoma is the most common and most feared example).

(Sorry for not providing more examples; I don't remember them from the top of my head and right now I don't have the guts for googling for cancers that kill children).

In addition, you must take into account that lab mice are all from relatively few genetical lines; this is sometimes a plus because they are genetically uniform, but they are also inbred and much more susceptible to various tumors.

Re:Mice don't get 'Alzheimer's disease'... (1)

Czech Blue Bear (1897556) | about 1 month ago | (#47643591)

What a joke it is - endless fraud from psychopaths who enjoy torturing animals all day.

One of my friends is a geneticists (in fact, more of my friends are). She is extremely sensitive, and looks very sad and distressed every time they have to kill a set of lab rats after finishing an experiment - which is exactly what the law requires them to do. They go a long way to ensure that the animal does not feel any pain at all, if possible (by the way, humans in terminal states of certain diseases would beg for such a swift and painless death - and they can't have it, again due to the law).

If they tried to set the lab rats free, or get them home, they would face criminal charges. In European Union, just having a genetically modified rat at home means a criminal charge and a hefty financial penalty (starting around 10000 Euro I believe), and it puts a definitive stop to your scientific career. Setting a GMO rat free into the city sewers or a garden would trigger a large-scale police operation and quite possibly you would be sent into jail as a bio-terrorist.

Do mice get Alzheimer's disease in the wild? This is blatantly fraudulent 'research'.

No, natural mice do not get Alzheimer's. We simulate the disease with various genetic modifications and injections of prions, in hope that the disease we artificially induced is sufficiently similar to Alzheimer's to be a usable model for finding a cure. So far, the results were poor, but we are slowly, constantly advancing, and along with accumulated data from the ill humans, and general knowledge about neuron functions, we will someday find a mechanism, and then a cure.

Yes, it is cruel to the mice. But it is the only way we know of finding a solution. This is not a purposeless torture. We are trying to save people, and these methods really produce useful results. (For example, any time you see a drug with a name ending with -amab or -omab, these are monoclonal antibodies produced from rats or mice, respectively - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/N... [wikipedia.org] )

As has been said before (5, Funny)

Albanach (527650) | about 2 months ago | (#47638889)

All we need now is a drug to turn humans into mice.

Already done on the American people (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47638973)

American politicians seem to have done a pretty good job on the American people without needing drugs.

Like Pavlov's dogs, only a few unique sounds (in this case keywords such as terrorist) turned out to be necessary.

Entitlements (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47639019)

Them sheeple gonna bark.

Re:As has been said before (1)

GoodNewsJimDotCom (2244874) | about 2 months ago | (#47639035)

We just need to make some super smart mice that can altruistically rule over us and lots of our problems will be solved.

Re:As has been said before (1)

Applehu Akbar (2968043) | about 2 months ago | (#47640213)

The smartest mice even have their own theme parks.

Re:As has been said before (1)

ilizarovs (3780389) | about 2 months ago | (#47640691)

We are going to rule over your humans with our whiskers technology ..

Re:As has been said before (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47640933)

I think so Brain, but is America ready for a President with big ears and an air of intellectual superiority?

Re:As has been said before (1)

fractoid (1076465) | about 1 month ago | (#47641179)

They'll just want to read our brains, electronically.

Of course, before they can read our brains they'd have to be removed and prepared.

Like, diced.

Re:As has been said before (1)

umghhh (965931) | about 2 months ago | (#47639359)

I am sure there is an US army sponsored private enterprise that knows an answer to this problem. There always is these days, it seems.

Re:As has been said before (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47639433)

Said before by who? We know these "secret science" programs exist, but what info do they have? Who has been theorizing about it?

Re:As has been said before (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47642355)

"Them", duh. It's always "them".

That's more than reversing the effect (4, Interesting)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#47638897)

If I read that correctly (yeah, I RTFA) what that stuff does is facilitate the transfer of short term into long term memory.

Forget Alzheimer (please, no lame puns here), every student on this planet will want that stuff. I sure know I would've killed to get that shit to stuff all that nonsensical crap into my brain that I had to learn for a few tests that were about as interesting as watching the carpet warp during hot Summers.

Re:That's more than reversing the effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47639023)

They have no idea what these things are doing. I especially wouldn't be taking some drug whose apparent mechanism is covalently binding to my brain.

Re:That's more than reversing the effect (4, Interesting)

MisterSquid (231834) | about 2 months ago | (#47639247)

They have no idea what these things are doing. I especially wouldn't be taking some drug whose apparent mechanism is covalently binding to my brain.

I can't help but think of Flowers for Algernon [wikipedia.org]

Re:That's more than reversing the effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47640059)

I can't help but think of Flowers for Algernon [wikipedia.org]

You beat me to it.

Its nice to see a comment from a literate person for a change.

It was a good movie too, starring Cliff Robertson of all people, and he did
a great job.

Re:That's more than reversing the effect (1)

TWX (665546) | about 2 months ago | (#47640489)

I can't help but think of Flowers for Algernon

That's why it'll initially only be tested on worst-case human patients, those with essentially no quality of life or are just about dead already. An uncle-in-law with severe late-stage cancer ended up on some kind of cancer drug test and we're pretty sure that he was in the group with the active drug, as he improved quite a bit and probably got three or four extra good years compared to his initial prognosis. Had he not gotten the drug he'd probably have died within six months of the diagnosis.

For a patient suffering severe dementia and Alzheimer's, they've already mentally died. A coworker's mother-in-law had severe Alzheimer's for a decade; the bulk of her body was incredibly healthy but her brain was messed up and she was a constant and continual source of pain to her family trying to care for her. Her eventual physical deterioration and death was a blessing as now her family had that constant stress taken away. She would have been a perfect candidate for an experimental drug test like this, as an improvement helping her to truly live again would have helped her and her family, even if only for a few more years, and even if she eventually reverted.

Re:That's more than reversing the effect (1)

RivenAleem (1590553) | about a month and a half ago | (#47647401)

I know it doesn't do it justice, but a similar theme is obviously found in Lawnmower Man.

Re:That's more than reversing the effect (1)

fractoid (1076465) | about 1 month ago | (#47641183)

Well, if a substance is affecting your brain then it's gonna be either covalent or ionic. There's not really a lot of other options.

Re:That's more than reversing the effect (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47639049)

Also if you RTFA look at figure S2, there are many strange things going on. In fig S2C there are bands that look too similar. In fig S2D there are some that don't match with thier quantification (eg 3mg/kg TC has clearly reduced GLuN2B phosphorylation but this does not show up in their quantification shown in figure 2D). It looks like there are serious problems with this study. I am sure if I look closer there will be more oddities.

Re:That's more than reversing the effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47639221)

I am so glad Slashdot has so many geniuses with advanced degrees in biochemistry to set the experts straight. Whatever would the Internet do without anonymous input from self-aggrandizing nobodies?

Slashdot *DOES* have geniuses... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47639273)

Albeit they're often difficult to differentiate from the morons and trolls.

That said: There's plenty of reasons somebody with the background to make sense of the data, interpret it, and raise concerns might not want their name associated with said statements. Given the IP laws, non-compete agreements, etc in place nowadays the last thing you want to be doing is running off your mouth in an identifiable fashion.

That said: Who really trusts research papers as solid evidence anymore? Short of a half dozen recreations of the subject matter, or a commercial process proving it legitimate too many current research papers have been called into question under knowledgable and motivated scrutiny to warrant trusting the publishing entity's proper vetting of the publication or of the scientists integrity being high enough to 'take their word for it.'

Re:Slashdot *DOES* have geniuses... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47639435)

"Given the IP laws, non-compete agreements, etc in place nowadays the last thing you want to be doing is running off your mouth in an identifiable fashion."

Sure. Because some random moniker can be traced back to the actual person. You do realize that Anonymous Coward is no more traceable than *randomnick#654", right? Seriously, as tech smart as you guys claim to be, you'd have to be the morons you mention to use your real name here on Slashdot or anywhere outside social media.

"Who really trusts research papers as solid evidence anymore?"

No one. It's all lies and bullshit. Everything you read is lies and bullshit. What you just typed and what I just typed are all lies and bullshit. Why are we even on the internet when nothing thereon can be trusted? Because if you cannot trust scientific research how the fuck are you going to trust some random guy, or even the media?

Someone turn off the internet. Nothing to believe here.

"Short of a half dozen recreations of the subject matter, or a commercial process proving it legitimate too many current research papers have been called into question under knowledgable and motivated scrutiny to warrant trusting the publishing entity's proper vetting of the publication or of the scientists integrity being high enough to 'take their word for it.'"

So to hell with the scientific method and rational thought, we're just going to label every new research paper as bullshit because we feel we were previously burned and cynicism is just so hip, cool and trendy? Screw the facts, past research papers were fraudulent and faulty thus every other paper must be too, right?

Anyway, my point is thus: for every article, for every new idea, there's always some moron screaming about how such and such is wrong because he or she took a semester of physics, or a year of biology. Just shut up already. You do not know more than the people involved in said research. And if the OP had read up on this particular compound, he or she would have seen it has been extensively researched for its cognitive-enhancing and restorative capabilities. The NIH has even performed rather rigorous tests on it.

Not everything is a fraud, not every thing is a lie. And not everyone is a damned expert even if they think they are.

Re:Slashdot *DOES* have geniuses... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47639477)

"And if the OP had read up on this particular compound, he or she would have seen it has been extensively researched for its cognitive-enhancing and restorative capabilities. The NIH has even performed rather rigorous tests on it."

It is very easy to be on the wrong track for decades when your theory is consistent with 50% of the possible outcomes (ie compound X increases/decreases something). When we consider publication bias (something must have gone wrong since my result doesn't match with the previous, so I won't publish), it is very likely many things are persistently wrong in the literature. Which reports have convinced you there is something to it?

Re:Slashdot *DOES* have geniuses... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47639527)

So you're saying the researchers reached their results because someone else previously reached similar results? And everyone who didn't reach similar results failed to publish?

"Which reports have convinced you there is something to it?"

Because the opposite is untenable in the face of any evidence contrary to the published results.

Long story short...you're ostensibly a cynical individual who has chosen to label this research fraudulent and faulty simply because previous research in related and unrelated fields has been found to be fraudulent and faulty, even though you have no factual reason, beyond some "questionable" graphical data, to think the research is bogus. You've chosen a side based on emotion, not logic or rational thought, whereas I would side with the researchers simply because there is nothing substantive at the moment to contravene their work.

Re:Slashdot *DOES* have geniuses... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47639541)

Do you have answers to that question or the OP questions? Or do you just want to argue "so many smart people can't be wrong"? Nothing has been accomplished for people with Stroke/TBI/Alzhiemer's for many years, it is completely justified to question the researchers know what they are doing.

Re:Slashdot *DOES* have geniuses... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47639765)

What do you call it when the ACs accuses the AC?

A cake!

Re:Slashdot *DOES* have geniuses... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47639937)

The AC defending this research without addressing the questions asked referred to "the NIH", so anyone in the know will realize they are not familiar.

Re:Slashdot *DOES* have geniuses... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47640431)

... with what?

Re:Slashdot *DOES* have geniuses... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47640577)

with the methods and previous reports regarding this disease and compound.

Re:That's more than reversing the effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47639279)

Are you part of this research group? Do you realize your anti-phospho antibodies appear to be crap? Also, without checking I will bet .01 btc the paper does not say how exactly (ie what did they actually measure so I can do it with their representative images) they quantified their gels. Find that in the paper and post an address.

That's more than reversing the effect (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47639325)

Every student on the planet already has what it takes to convert short term memories to long term memories. The drug isn't professed to improve the conversion rate, it's professed to restore the conversion rate in people with Alzheimer's disease. People with Alzheimer's disease get to live with the unfortunate prospect of watching that conversion rate go from normal to something approaching zero.

Re:That's more than reversing the effect (1)

jandersen (462034) | about 2 months ago | (#47640667)

Mayne will be reading this as saying 'there's a way cure Alzheimer'; actually it isn't a cure, it just covers up some of the symptoms of the still progressing disease. This is comparable to painkillers - they take away some of the pain, which is good, but the underlying cause is still there; not a problem if you have a passing headache, but it can be much more serious if it is something that slowly gets worse, like an infected tooth, a slipped disc - or cancer.

Finally, we can cure Reagan of the disease. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47638915)

This will allow him to take the reigns of the Presidency instead, and serve the American people once more.

Oh sure, we'll have to get him a shiny new Robot body, but it's ok, there's bound to be one made of titanium.

Why worry? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47638929)

It's only old people who get Alzheimer's. No loss there...

Re:Why worry? (1, Insightful)

EvilSS (557649) | about 2 months ago | (#47639077)

It's only old people who get Alzheimer's. No loss there...

And it's young people who pay for most of their care.

Re:Why worry? (4, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 months ago | (#47639079)

Unless your proposal involves turning the old people into soylent grey, there definitely is. It's a particularly slow and very, very, unpleasant way to die(not so much because of any gruesome physical symptoms as because gradual and relentless loss of assorted important congnitive functions is both terrifying and increasingly incomprehensible as you lose more of them) and makes the victim substantially dependent on caregivers some years before they otherwise might be. Very hard on the patient, very hard on their relatives, and quite expensive, often for a number of years.

Re:Why worry? (2)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about 2 months ago | (#47639737)

And here caring for Alzheimer's patients was one of the few up and coming employers of a large segment of the population. But I say who needs Alzheimer's? We have the House of Representatives and the republic right wing and they are ding bats enough for us. We need no more brain dead in America.

Re:Why worry? (1)

linearZ (710002) | about 2 months ago | (#47640087)

Soylent Grey is mice.

Re:Why worry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47642883)

Indeed, Alzheimer's is one of the reasons people should be free to end their own lives, including getting assistance in doing so. Unfortunately, in many cases one of the legacies of the primitive tribal past of humanity includes religious beliefs that consider suicide unconditionally wrong, which in turn has led to laws in many jurisdictions that are written to prevent this kind of thing.

There's no excuse for any modern civilized state to permit religious beliefs to shape its legal system, allowing people such as Jack Kevorkian to be prosecuted (in violation of the separation of church and state) for assisting others in ending their lives. Indeed it is nothing short of criminal conduct for prosecutors to pursue such cases, as the laws under which they proceed are written contrary to fundamental rights, and thus the prosecutors (not to mention the police officers making an arrest, and the judge allowing the case to proceed) violate their oaths of office.

Unfortunately, the same nut jobs that oppose the teaching of biology, particularly evolution, have been able to get the laws in many places written in such a manner as to impose their crackpot religious ideas on everybody else, and fanatically resist any rational changes to the written laws, or opposition to the application of those laws on a Bill of Rights basis.

Re:Why worry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47643421)

Indeed, Alzheimer's is one of the reasons people should be free to end their own lives, including getting assistance in doing so. Unfortunately, in many cases one of the legacies of the primitive tribal past of humanity includes religious beliefs that consider suicide unconditionally wrong, which in turn has led to laws in many jurisdictions that are written to prevent this kind of thing.

Religion is not the only reason. Too lenient rules for assisted suicide can lead to increase in hidden murders which are hard to find or prove.

Also, in many cases the person considering suicide is not judging his/her situation correctly, and problems he/she has (medical or otherwise) can be solvable. (Sadly, this is not the case with Alzheimer's.)

Finally, I think many people in power are afraid of giving doctors a too easy way to solve difficult cases; how much patients would be sent to early grave when their disease might be curable but the cure would be very expensive? Wouldn't it negatively affect medical research? (Why even bother researching cures for elderly when they can be easily and cheaply liquidated?)

Re:Why worry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47644529)

Exactly why we won't see this come to market...too much money to be made when people are sick to cure them of anything.

The last thing to be "cured" by medicine was chicken pox when the vaccine was approved in 1995...and that only came about because nobody sees the doctor for chicken pox. Unfortunately pharmaceutical companies are entirely focused on "treat the symptoms and hook them for life" and not "heal the patient".

Medicine can't more forward without real competition, and with the crushing FDA and the all-powerful pharmaceutical litigation apparatus, it doesn't appear likely to get any better soon.

Re:Why worry? (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a month and a half ago | (#47645725)

I'm not sure that the incentives line up in this case: Alzeimer's tends to be expensive because of the amount of care and nursing people require as their cognitive state declines; but the pharmaceutical options are sparse. People would beat down your door for the chance to pay for pills what they now pay for nursing if you had something(even if it has to be taken twice daily forever) that was suitably effective. Anyone who could would likely pay more because the disease itself is so nasty. Seems like a very lucrative position for anyone except those currently doing the nursing.

Re:Why worry? (3, Informative)

Mashiki (184564) | about 2 months ago | (#47639213)

It's only old people who get Alzheimer's. No loss there...

Unless of course you're so unfortunate to have early-onset. In which case it can start at the age of 15.

Re:Why worry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47639231)

Weak troll is weak.

Re:Why worry? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47641711)

Another young dumb pothead who thinks he'll never grow old.

Re:Why worry? (1)

Czech Blue Bear (1897556) | about 1 month ago | (#47643671)

It's only old people who get Alzheimer's. No loss there...

Even from a strictly economical point of view, this is disputable.

"Normal" Alzheimer's can affect people as young as 40 (there are super-early, genetic-based variants that can hit even earlier, but that's in fact a different disease I think). Such a human still could provide >10 years of work, possibly qualified work, and has a family which will care about him/her, which degrades their work ability greatly (you *won't* be working as well if you haven't slept for a week due to trying to quell Dad's nightmares) - a very significant economic loss.

But let's say, for the sake of argument, that it does not appear earlier than in 60's, and that the human in that age does nothing to offer to the society, work-wise (gross oversimplification, I know). But he/she has still lots of younger social contacts, which all get depressed and stressed due to this illness. Of course, you could euthanize the affected person. But by this, you are effectively learning your society that "getting ill = getting killed". This means, on one side, that people will focus on covering any disease symptoms and trying to keep at work even when ill, from fear of being euthanized - a net economic loss - and on the other side, medicine research will effectively stop because it's cheaper - and now allowed - to euthanize a patient with any serious (albeit generally curable) disease. Not much good, even not much efficient.

Lastly, the overall people lifespan is still growing. It is possible that in the future, a 50-years old person will be, and feel, as healthy and full of energy as in 25ths. But if Alzheimer's will still be a killer in 60's, you would be losing fully-powered, fully-qualified workforce. Much loss, very bad.

Some peer review. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47638997)

Lets start with Figure S2c. Why does the 3 mg/kg S8 treatment band for phosphorylated pyk2 look exactly the same as the unphosphorylated band?

ALZ-113? (1)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 2 months ago | (#47638999)

life imitates art?

We live in an extraordinary era in medicine! (4, Funny)

EvilSS (557649) | about 2 months ago | (#47639059)

With so many advancements and near miraculous treatments being discovered almost daily it's never been a better time to be a mouse!

Re:We live in an extraordinary era in medicine! (1)

slashdime (818069) | about 2 months ago | (#47639299)

Only if you're a mouse suffering from terminal depression. All lab mice are euthanized whether tests are successful or not.

Re:We live in an extraordinary era in medicine! (1)

penguinoid (724646) | about 2 months ago | (#47639437)

All lab mice are euthanized whether tests are successful or not.

All humans die whether they were successful or not. (With the possible exception of those who signed up for cryonics.)

Re:We live in an extraordinary era in medicine! (1)

fightermagethief (3645291) | about 2 months ago | (#47639691)

die != euthanized != murdered

Re:We live in an extraordinary era in medicine! (1)

fractoid (1076465) | about 1 month ago | (#47641245)

Actually involuntary euthanasia = murder. That's kind of the reason that euthanasia isn't legal. It's potentially very hard to prove (especially when the patient has some cognitive disability) whether or not it was in fact voluntary or not.

Re:We live in an extraordinary era in medicine! (1)

aliquis (678370) | about 1 month ago | (#47641099)

What about zombie-Jesus?

Misleading summary is misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47639239)

Alzheimer's causes death of brain cells, and concomitantly the information stored in the neural networks they were part of.

That information is irrevocably destroyed, and that neural processing capability is lost. There will never be a treatment that can recreate the dead neurons with the synaptic network configuration they had—that would be like developing a "treatment" to reverse cremation.

Will we someday have a treatment that halts Alzheimer's? Perhaps. Will we someday have a treatment that augments lost cortical processing capability via unlocking new neural pathways/cortical plasticity? It's plausible.

Will we ever reverse the brain damage and (equally importantly) its state? No. Therefore, Alzheimer's can never be truly "reversed".

Re:Misleading summary is misleading (1)

Khyber (864651) | about 2 months ago | (#47639291)

"That information is irrevocably destroyed"

Who says there isn't a backup hiding somewhere?

Re:Misleading summary is misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47639313)

Russell's teapot would like to have a word with you.

And, FWIW, apk is a moron *but* I get the real estate back by coupling the hosts to link to a server that sends back an empty HTTP 200 response for any URI. Unless the site hardcodes a fixed width frame for the ad banner or something, I do indeed get the space back.

Re:Misleading summary is misleading (1)

Teun (17872) | about 2 months ago | (#47639563)

You seem to know your Shit.

And can be funny too :)

Re:Misleading summary is misleading (1)

Czech Blue Bear (1897556) | about 1 month ago | (#47643897)

"That information is irrevocably destroyed"

Who says there isn't a backup hiding somewhere?

Russell's teapot would like to have a word with you.

The backup idea is, in fact, not at all stupid. Although I doubt there is some backup ready for use (if some god has it, it is improbable that he/she will yield it, provided that he/she did not so yet), a kind of a backup can be done as a precaution.

While we are still light years away from a full mind upload (of course, if we were able to do that, Alzheimer's would become just a minor nuisance), we are better and better in storing information about what a person saw, heard, and even felt internally. Provided that there is enough of this data, and we get at least a basic knowledge of how they are stored in the brain, we might be able to restore the mostly destroyed circuitry using e.g. stem cells or whatever magitech will be needed, and adapt it using the stored data to remotely resemble what it used to be.

Of course, there are lots of "ifs" and hard-to-imagine manipulation on subcellullar level, but I would consider it mildly feasible.

Re:Misleading summary is misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47639493)

Well, you're right when you say that no drug can recreate lost neurons and the information contained therein, but the drug in question seems to work by assisting the retention of new information, i.e., a mouse can recall a particular object in a particular location whereas previously it could not.

So there's more than one aspect of the disease, one of which is the retention of new information and the other being memories. The drug then might halt progression of the disease, especially if caught early as is becoming the case, and allow a person to retain their identity for far longer than without. In the cases where the individual is too far gone, the drug would stabilize progression of the disease and allow the patient to learn new skills lost via the disease. He or she would be able to learn his or her name again and reconnect with his or her family via new memories and experiences.

Really, bashing the potential efficacy of this drug simply because it cannot restore lost individual memories is rather bizarre, and if it works in humans, it'll do for Alzheimers what HIV drugs does for AIDS: forestalls the destructive consequences of its pathological progression.

One would think you'd be happy for any good measure.

Re:Misleading summary is misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47639811)

One would think that if you actually read what I posted you would see that I specifically took issue with the term "reverses" wrt this potential Alzheimer's tx. Because, you know, it's most certainly not able to reverse the disease and people need to understand that isn't something that's possible.

Everything else you were replying to was your misinterpretation. Read the post again. Do you see me attacking anything other than misleading terminology?

Re:Misleading summary is misleading (1)

skids (119237) | about 2 months ago | (#47640511)

Well, to argue semantics if we learned how to regrow a lost arm, we'd have "reversed" amputation even though we can never restore all the lost opportunities to scratch one's ass.

But your general point that people should not expect the alzheimer's patient to necessarily start to remember everything they have forgotten is well taken.

I'd give the word choice a 'B' in that they could have done better but reasonably intelligent people will understand what is meant.

Re:Misleading summary is misleading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47640725)

I thought of the amputation example, though the "opportunity cost" you chose isn't as fitting as, say, scars or tattoos (serving as statefulness in this analogy). However, the analogy falls apart because ultimately the information state of the arm is effectively irrelevant.

The crux of the issue is that, unlike any other organ, the brain is more than the sum of its parts insofar as it is highly dependent upon state. If you cut off a limb and replace it with a lab-grown, DNA-identical, same physical characteristics replica, you will have indeed "reversed" the amputation for all intents and purposes.

Not so with the brain: specifically, the death of neurons causes the loss of synaptic network state/information, which results in the critical destruction of memory. Why does this matter so much? Because, more than anything else, memory makes us who we are.

If you severed all my limbs I would still consider myself to be me. However, if you erased my memories I would cease to exist. Others may recognize my corporeal self, and some other personality might emerge to inhabit my brain, but *I* would be dead.

Yes, I am equating total memory loss with death, and by extension, the destruction of long-term memories as a death by degree. Have you witnessed dementia progress in someone over multiple years?

Reversing the disease would imply restoring destroyed memories, and that seems information-theoretically impossible. I hope to someday live in a world where that is an abstract concern because Alzheimer's (and other progressive dementias) are arrested before perceptible memory loss takes place.

The peanut butter smell test seems quite interesting and is on a plausible footing. I hope that line of research continues.

Those spaced out mice were bugging me... (1)

Bob_Who (926234) | about 2 months ago | (#47639427)

A mouse looked so stupid walking around and around in circles looking for the car keys.

An older mouse was screaming at the cheese "Do I know you?" in a mousey voice...

It was totally embarrassing.

Slashdot Should Institute a Moratorium on Medical (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | about 2 months ago | (#47639463)

You can always tell an article is based on junk science when it contains the words "Alzheimer's," "cancer," or "AIDS." I'd bet my last cent at least two of the researchers involved in this are implicated in fakery by next week.

Re:Slashdot Should Institute a Moratorium on Medic (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47640091)

Alzheimer, cancer, HIV, thats where the gvt money is. Scientists apply for that money and in order to get it they need to invent a story why the stuff they research has something to do with one of those three. Of course its not that extreme, but sure there is some bias applied in abstracts to get funds.

Deja Vu (1)

fightermagethief (3645291) | about 2 months ago | (#47639715)

Hasn't this post been on here before?
All kidding aside, I hope some headway is made in this field. I have no problem remembering technical things that I learn and once I learn them once, it is very rare for me to forget. But I am finding myself, at 30, confusing the chronological order of events, repeating conversations, and thinking that I may or may not 'have already done this before'. It kind of feels like a mild cross of aphasia and alzheimer's.

Re:Deja Vu (1)

fightermagethief (3645291) | about 2 months ago | (#47639717)

*learn them once = use them once

Re:Deja Vu (1)

Czech Blue Bear (1897556) | about 1 month ago | (#47643799)

All kidding aside, I hope some headway is made in this field.

I think we all hope in this, regardless of our age. And, unless we destroy ourselves in some nice world war, or unless science will be oficially banned on religious grounds, the cure will be found. Alzheimer's is no magic, there is some underlying cause, and when we find it, we will find a way to block it, although it can be technically challenging.

I personally think (but this is just a guess) that we will have to learn pretty much details of neuronal functions at the lowest biochemical level, and also about glial-neuronal interactions, because so far I tend to think that there might be some subtle glitch in metabolism, something not being cleaned up properly, which leads to disastrous buildup of unusable stuff much, much later. But I repeat, that's just a guess, there might as well be a profound, brutal defect we just did not find yet.

I have no problem remembering technical things that I learn and once I learn them once, it is very rare for me to forget. But I am finding myself, at 30, confusing the chronological order of events, repeating conversations, and thinking that I may or may not 'have already done this before'. It kind of feels like a mild cross of aphasia and alzheimer's.

In 30? Probably loss of concentration. Alzheimer's is very rare at your age, and it usually manifests in a different way. A cause for concern would be if you were losing memories or how-tos of usual, routine things, experiencing strange mood swings with bouts of confusion, not recognizing people you regularly meet, or suddenly getting lost in a town you live in for 20 years. And even then, I would suspect epilepsy. (But beware, I am not a MD...)

Interesting - Modulating Memory Repair (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47640183)

If I understood the article. They suppose that all neurons are sort of like NAND memory cells, and not only do they acquire [New] memories from Short-Term to Long Term, but they also transfer [Old] Memories from long term storage to long term storage when [Old] neurons burn out, via the Short-Term memory pipeline.

So Alzheimers would be a disease of this natural "refresh" and "repair" mechanism.

Without renewal, [Old] Memories quite literally "die" when the neurons that support them die.

So "technically" this isn't a cure for Azheimers it's "boosting" the recycle process that takes old memories and puts them into [New] neurons, or neurons that are not "dead" yet. It helps [Salvage] what memories you have left. Our "mindful" use of partial memory fragments gets "re-coalesced" from potential "gibberish" into something co-herent and useful by processing through the "Short-Term" process.. "dreams" or "day dreaming" when we try to make sense of things. And then it has to get put back into [Long-Term] storage. If STEP gets in the way, then the memories eventually [Fade] from Short-Term memory, and are lost. Or die with the neurons that originally backed them.

This doesn't prevent Neuronal death.. but provides an enhanced "Coping" mechanism.. it would certainly help students learn things.. but their might be long term down sides.. like burning out the Short-Term memory cells capacity sooner than they would normally fail. Like accelerated aging of the Short-Term memory component of the brain. If I were a young person.. I would think very long and hard before trading Life-Span for Short-Term financial gains. As for older people.. its a Faustian deal at best.. and not question at all if your already at the doorstep of Alzheimers.

The Same Thing We Do Every Night (1)

cstacy (534252) | about 2 months ago | (#47640281)

Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

Alternatively, is the mouse named Caesar?

Terry Pratchett has Alzheimer's (2)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about 2 months ago | (#47640301)

Let's hope that this treatment works well, and is approved for human use quickly. Terry Pratchett's abilities to tie fascinating details of human experience, knowledge, and even science into an entertaining and educational story is an incredible loss to the world. Even if you only recovers enough to enjoy the well-earned adulation of his fans, the chance to thank him personally for his work is worth significant medical research.

I understand he particularly likes banana daiquiris.

Re:Terry Pratchett has Alzheimer's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47641803)

discworld sucks

We have cured mice of everything... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47640305)

We have successfully cured mice of every disease known to man. The unfortunate part is that things that cure mice don't always cure people. Is the correlation even 20%? It depends on the organ or organs similarity between humans and mice. Its nice to think that there is something that can slow the spread of Altzheimers by 95% or better, but we (sadly) won't be holding our breath till its shown to work in people.

This is not a full cure (1)

lightbounce (2440482) | about 1 month ago | (#47643127)

All this drug does it improve the conversion of short-term memory to long-term memory. This is a problem in patients suffering from Alzheimer's but no way can it regain memory stored in neurons already lost to Alzheimer's. I hope this treatment works, but it's not even clear it will stop the progression of the disease to it's ultimate conclusion.

Good news for mice! (1)

Optali (809880) | about 1 month ago | (#47643231)

Finally elderly mice will not have to fear this terrible disease.

Mice must be so thrilled. (1)

onproton (3434437) | about 1 month ago | (#47643233)

If every time I read a story starting with "_______ reversed in mice!" it ended up being an actual advancement in medicine, by now we would be immortal [huffingtonpost.com] and immune to almost every disease.

Captivity causing the mental illness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 1 month ago | (#47643259)

Instead of living long in a lab, I wonder if it is being stuck in a cage, being poked and prodded all their lives is part of why they go mad.

Vitamin D and Alzheimers (1)

godel_56 (1287256) | about 1 month ago | (#47643511)

A recent study has found low vitamin D levels associated with Alzheimer's disease, as well as a bunch of other ailments. It seems like modest daily supplementation with vitamin D3 might be a good idea if Alzheimer's runs in your family.

https://www.yahoo.com/health/clear-link-found-between-vitamin-d-deficiency-and-94074543072.html

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